WHY IS THERE SO MUCH GOODNESS?
The Jew in this story was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and for no fault of his own he was assaulted by robbers who took his money, the very clothes on his back, beat him half to death and left him naked on the road for dead. A Priest and Levite from Jerusalem happened to pass by and saw him in a bloody mess, but they didn't want to get involved. By the way, it was his problem not theirs, so they didn't bother to stop. Later one of the despised Samaritans came on the scene and was touched by the helpless condition of the man, and he bandaged him up as best could. Then he put him on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him the rest of the day. The next morning before he left he paid the innkeeper for their lodging and said, “Take care of this man, and whatever more you have to spend, I will pay for it when I return.”
The first truth we learn from this story is the well known truth that the world is full affliction, violence and danger. He went on a short journey and almost lost his life on the road. It reminds us that we are never secure from trouble. This can happen to all of us. Sometimes we suffer in our own person, and sometimes it is our relatives or friends who are afflicted. Nobody could blame this poor Jew that when he was going down to Jericho about his business that thieves bushwhacked him, robbed him and left him half dead. To him it was pure misfortune, and as we hear it said so often today on the news media, “He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
This road between Jerusalem and Jericho was a known hideout for robbers, and some called it the “bloody way” because of the frequent highway robberies and murders committed on that road. In the Los Angeles area this sort of thing can happen to any of us In the general Los Angeles complex there are many roads like that road from Jerusalem to Jericho, and we never know when we might be traveling on one of them.. Something like this happens most every day in this part of southern California. There is a great deal of this kind of affliction in the world which does not arise from the carelessness of the persons enduring it. These things come on people for nothing wrong they have done, but because of the wickedness of others. Man is man's worst enemy, and the only explanation we have is that we live in an evil world full of affliction.
The compassion and goodness of this Samaritan that saved the life of this helpless Jew reminds me of a story I read about a good man who ran an orphanage. He cared for several children in his home, and among
them was a little homeless girl, picked from the streets, like a stray animal. She had never had a parental home, or a name or the pure love of parents. She was worse than an orphan. In addition, she was slightly deformed, and was badly scarred from burns received about her neck and face. She was horribly ugly. None of the children wanted to look at her, and they would not play with her. She didn't dare go about the good man who had given her a home, and he noticed when he went away and returned that all the children would hug his neck and kiss him a happy greeting. But this little nameless, defomed girl would only stand a short distance away from him and cry. One day, when they were alone, he asked her, “Why do you never kiss me and hug me as all the others do”? Her heart was broken and she said, “Oh, Doctor, I'm too ugly”! What did this good man do? He took her and adopted her for his daughter. The others might be his wards, but she should be his child. I would put what that man did on a par with what the good Samaritan did. Both deeds of these two men were acts of human goodness, kindness. and compassion.
These thoughts lead us into the second truth we learn from the story of the good Samaritan. It teaches us that there is a lot of goodness in this world. It raises the question, “Why is there so much goodness in the world?” Both revelation and experience teach that there is much goodness like that of the good Samaritan in the world. We cannot but be reminded of 9/11 and those firefighters in New York City who freely gave their lives in an effort to save the lives of others. On that same day, a wife talked to her husband by cell phone in one of those other planes which was to slam into another important building in Washington, D.C. After a short conversation with his wife by which she informed him of the two planes that had crashed into the twin towers he said to his wife, “We are going to take this plane down. Goodby, I love you.” This man, with the help of others, crashed that plane in the hope of saving many other lives. How shall we explain all the goodness that is in the world? I care not what defects this Samaritan might have had, the fact remains there was something good about him. There was something good about that man who operated the orphanage and adopted that little girl. There was something good about those firemen who gave their own lives to help save the lives of other people. That recent psunami touched the generosity of America and people from all over the world. How shall we account for all this goodness in the world?
I think the only reasonable explanation for all this goodness in the the world is that goodness is one of the attributes of God. Exodus 34: 6 says, “The Lord passed by Moses and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD
God merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth.” There is goodness in man because of the One who made him. The Bible says that God created man in His own image, and every thing God made was good. Adam and Eve lived in perfect goodness for a time in the garden of Eden. They were good people, and that is the way God made them. We can correctly say that a part of that divine image in which God made us all is goodness.. Another part that divine image is intelligence, and another is spirituality. We can reach out and find God.
It is true that man has lost much of this divine image, but he has not lost all of it. The goodness we see in mankind is one of the evidences for the existence of God. This is one of the attributes of man that comes from our original creation. We see it more in some than in others. We did not derive this goodness from the Gorilla, and we did not get the religious instinct from the animal world. One way God manifests His existence in this world is by the goodness, intelligence and worshipful attitude of human beings. Some of the original image of God is seen in us because we are the offspring of God. We did not come into existence by coming down out of the trees 20 million years ago. We came into existence by a direct creation of God, out of the dust of the ground in the garden of Eden. The Creator said, “Let us make man in Our image.” The good deed of the Samaritan was simply a reflection of the fact that he was made in the image of God. This accounts for the fact of so much goodness in the nonchristian world. These people are living without God and without hope in the world. Nevertheless, they have many good qualities, and they still bear the imprint of there Maker, even though they are not Christians.
God so loved mankind that He sent His only begotten Son to this world that whoever are willing to believe and obey Him might receive eternal life. The design of the Christian religion is to restore enough of the Divine image of God in us to produce a character that will allow us to go to heaven. The words of Jesus are, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” But all who rejects His invitation will be condemned at the last day
It's our choice. Colossians 3:10 says to Christians, , “Put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” Similarly, Ephesians 4:24 says, “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is the true secret of making it to heaven. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.